I had a baby, here’s how it went | Blogmas Day 6

As the title says, I had a baby back in November. I love a good birth story so here’s how mine went.

Warning: I go into some detail here and talk about body parts and bodily fluids, so if you don’t want the nitty-gritty, you might wanna skip this post. Just know the baby and me are healthy.

My husband and I went to the hospital on a Monday morning in November for me to be induced. I knew I was having a boy, and I had been hoping he’d come out on his own before that but no dice. I was 39 weeks and 0 days, and my doctor wanted him out early due to health reasons which I won’t get into. Anyway.

We get there at 5am and they hooked me up to an IV and popped a hormone pill into me to stimulate my cervix to dilate. It took probably five hours and then I was at 1cm. At this point I started feeling some mild cramps – nothing major, probably not even as bad as period cramps. Then, they inserted a Foley bulb. What that is is essentially a balloon that they’d place in the opening of my cervix and fill with water with the goal of increasing the dilation to 3cm.

Honestly this part was rough for me. I knew I was getting this damned bulb ahead of time and had worked it up in my head to something terrible. I actually had a panic attack when it came time to put it in. They ended up giving me pain and anxiety medication through my IV before they could do it, and I was sliiiightly loopy when it went in. I don’t remember it hurting too badly, but the meds kinda blurred that for me. Why I had worked it up, I don’t know, but I had.

So that went in, and it was in for probably five or six hours, and when I reached 3cm it literally just fell out. At that point, they started the pitocin, the hormone drug injected through the IV to “officially” start my labor and dilate me the rest of the way. It was evening at this point, and the contractions had increased to moderate. I’d say they were in line with that of a medium period cramp.

At that point, they told me there was no point in going through the pain if I planned on getting an epidural – which I did – so they called in the anesthesiologists and had them put it in.

They showed up in a team of two – one doctor and one tech – and the tech had me sit up and face away from her, and curl over so my spine was pushed against my skin. I could feel her running her fingers over the vertebrae to find the right spot and when it came time to insert the needle, they first numbed out the area with something or other – honestly I was a bit too preoccupied to pay attention to what it was – and then they poked me. It was firey but honestly not too bad. The Foley bulb was worse, and I told them as much when they asked if I was ok. The anesthesiologists laughed but the nurse who had inserted the bulb was all ‘huff!’ until I explained it was the anxiety around it that had caused it to be so bad, not her handiwork itself. I think she felt a bit better about it after that.

So the epidural went in and…. nothing. After twenty minutes, I felt zero numbness or anything. Turns out, the tech missed the spot, and the drug being injected wasn’t hitting my spinal cord like it was supposed to. They had to pull it out and do it again. This time the doctor did it – the same firey needle and curling over – and then I felt my legs going numb. It was the oddest sensation.

With that though, all the pain disappeared. It was like magic. They also inserted a catheter at that point because I could no longer walk. My legs were essentially dead, couldn’t move them, couldn’t feel them. So I continued to dilate throughout the night, and honestly I slept through most of it, as did my husband, who was on a couch in my room. If I wouldn’t have had that epidural I’m sure the night would have felt much longer.

In the morning when I woke up – probably six or seven am, I was eight inches dilated. For those unaware, ten inches is the magic number, it means the cervix is no longer blocking the birth canal and you’re ready to go. So going from three to eight overnight was good progress.

Throughout this whole thing, they weren’t letting me eat anything aside from clear liquid-based things. So like, jello, broth, etc. This was because if the labor went south and I needed an emergency C-section, my stomach had to be empty. So I ate a lot of jello and a lot of water.

Throughout this, I had a few different nurses assigned to me. One during the day on Monday, and then a night nurse throughout the night, and then the same day nurse from the day before, now on Tuesday. She was my favorite one I think – very kind and talkative and helpful with everything. So I spent the morning watching my contractions on the monitor as I could feel nothing.

Around 11:30 the doctor came in and performed a cervical check. She said, “You’re at 10cm, it’s time to start pushing,” and then like four other doctors came into the room all of a sudden. And… well, I had another panic attack, because it was all so sudden. I didn’t need any meds this time though, I was able to calm myself down after a few minutes.

So my favorite nurse takes one leg, my husband takes the other, and I’m on my back. They drop out the end of the bed so my booty is right at the edge of it, and they wait for a contraction, and then they have me push.

Pushing was… interesting. I had the epidural in so I couldn’t feel the baby moving along the birth canal, nor could I really feel if I was pushing hard enough. I apparently was though, because with every contraction and push from me, they said I was making progress.

So small note – on Monday this nurse and I were talking and I was saying that I was thinking the baby would have blonde hair, just because while both my and my husband have dark hair, as a kid my husband’s was platinum blonde. So this same nurse is holding my right leg, right, and when the baby’s head crowned she yells, ‘HE’S NOT BLONDE!’ and then she, my husband and I all crack up laughing. It ruins my concentration on the push and we just cackle the rest of the contraction. The doctors in the room were all very confused, let me tell you.

So after 27 minutes of pushing, my baby is born. They pull him out and immediately put him on my chest. And the first thing he does is open his eyes and look at me.

It was like time stopped. He was looking at me and I was looking at him and there was chaos around me because I know the doctors had started on stitching me up – I had a bit of tearing – but I wasn’t even paying attention. All my brain could process was that this baby was here and he was looking at me. It was probably only twenty seconds but it felt like hours, and then he started to cry. His lungs were healthy and wonderful and he was born and laying on me and my life was complete.

Due to the health issues I mentioned earlier, the stitching of my tearing failed, and they had to put packing in me to stop the bleeding. Essentially cotton towel-like things to soak up the blood. Those ended up staying in overnight Tuesday night into Wednesday and when they pulled them out the next day the bleeding had gone down to ‘normal’ levels, meaning I was ok.

But that first hour right after birth they just left my baby laying on my chest and it was one of the best hours of my life. We just looked at each other. My husband got to hold him too and because my legs were still dead, he did the feedings and the changings that first night.

My night nurse that night kinda sucked unfortunately. It was impossible to get information out of her about timelines for the packing in me or really anything, and then it was hard to get her to stay in the room for more than five minutes. It was like she was preoccupied but for me that meant I knew nothing about anything and it made me panic. My husband eventually went out and got a different nurse to come in and help me out, she was so bad.

Aside from that though, after they removed the packing on Wednesday they moved me to a post-partum room and they nurses there were all wonderful. We stayed there until Thursday when they discharged us and we went home for the first time.

So overall, the birth itself was a pretty positive experience but the peripherals – the night nurse after the birth, the double epidural, the foley bulb – kinda sucked. But my baby is here and I am healthy and so is he and honestly he’s going to be a month old this week and that’s crazy to me.

Would I do it again for a second baby?

I’m undecided.

But it was totally worth it all the first time for this little baby. For him, I would do anything.

 

Hotel Africa vol 1 by Hee Jung Park | Blabber

Hotel Africa, Volume 1Hotel Africa vol 1 by Hee Jung Park
Manhwa – Slice of Life/Drama
215 pages
Published 5/2006
Read 9/2019
Spoiler-free blabber

Hotel Africa is a hidden gem.

I picked this manhwa up because one of my best friends has a tendency of buying a bunch of obscure stuff, and then throwing 20 or so volumes of it at me at a time to read when she’s finished with it. This was among them – I had never heard of it before, and she didn’t tell me her opinion of it before lending it to me. I didn’t even read the back before I began, so I was going in totally blind.

Man, did I end up falling in love with this.

This volume follows two timelines, both focused around the main character: Elvis. Elvis in one timeline is a young man, just trying to live his life like the rest of us. He lives with two room mates, both of which also have their struggles. In the other timeline, Elvis is four years old, living with his mother at Hotel Africa, a hotel his mother and grandmother started up in the middle of the desert in Utah. Each chapter of the manwha switches back and forth between the two timelines, and each time, it goes into a new character’s story.

This series is definitely character-driven. If you go into this looking for a rip-roaring plot, you will be disappointed, but if you go in with the desire to learn about the human condition, you might find yourself in the right place.

Hotel Africa explores a lot of topics – it delves into the characters that show up at the hotel, why they chose that hotel out in the middle of nowhere, and the circumstances that brought them there. Each hotel guest’s story is different. Some are just passing through, on their way to start a new life, some are stuck in their pasts and have gone traveling to find their present, and some show up out of nowhere and never leave.

Elvis himself interacts with these guests, and you see their human struggles through the eyes of a toddler, who at the time may or may not actually grasp what is going on with his new friends. As an adult in the other timeline, you can see Elvis has grown up to be a very empathetic person as a result of being raised around people in all sorts of situations.

I really liked how real the situations felt. Not going into detail for spoilers sake, more than one of the people who showed up at the hotel were going through things that were very close to my heart, others were going through things that I’ve never experienced, but the author was able to convey their feelings in a way so sharp and clear that I felt like I had.

As said, this is a character-driven story, so it moves at a sedated pace. Each hotel guest’s story is self-contained for the most part, allowing us multiple glimpses into situations and struggles across a spectrum of life stages. It was very poignant, and very well written.

Overall, I adored this. On the first read through, I’ve rated it very high, but I feel upon a reread, upon letting these stories really sink in, that this could end up being a 5 star favorite. I plan on getting myself a copy of this and rereading it, along with volume 2, which I believe is the only other volume in the series(?).

But this one, man. If you want something that’ll pull at your heart and make you feel slightly sad without being able to put your finger on why, this is the one.

4.5 stars

Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku by Fujita | Blabber

Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku, Vol 1 (Otakoi: Otaku Can't Fall in Love?!)Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku by Fujita
2 volumes (so far, in English)
Manga – Romance/Slice of Life
Read July 3 & July 8, 2018
Spoiler-free blabber for volumes 1 and 2

It’s been a long time since I found myself so taken by a manga series.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been reading some good ones lately (see Demon Diary, my most recent blabber) but this one really has stolen my heart. This series follows two working adults, mid-twenties, who are huge nerds and because they would better understand each other’s nerdiness than someone who isn’t one, they decide to date each other. That’s it. That’s the whole premise. And holy cow did I unexpectedly love this.

The characters in this, to me, are very relatable. The four shown on the two covers here are the main characters and they way they interact reminds me a lot of my friend group. There’s the manga nerd, the video game nerd, the cosplayer, the closet nerd – seeing them all portrayed in a positive way was nice to see and watching them interact with each other while just… being themselves.. was adorably wonderful. Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku, Vol 2 (Otakoi: Otaku Can't Fall in Love?!)

I think what I love about this series the most is the simplicity of it. Normally I’d be railing it for not having a huge plot, but it kinda works in this case. It’s just four people interacting on a daily basis, trying to navigate the minefield of the early stages of a relationship, as this series has the relationship I mentioned get established fairly quickly and then follows the progression of it. There’s no drama at the beginning, there’s no love triangle, there aren’t any super dramatic teenage misinterpretations. It’s just simple and refreshing.

Though, not to say that this series doesn’t deal with actual relationship issues – while one of the couples is new and exploring the first steps, the other has been together for years and years, so we get to read their interactions as well. It’s a nice balance, going from a couple who are still a bit uncertain with each other to one who is very comfortable and content. It’s a good dynamic and I enjoyed it.

AND HOLY COW, EVERYONE COMMUNICATES LIKE NORMAL ADULTS. There’s no ‘wait I can explain’ or dramatic running away upon seeing someone in a questionable yet explainable situation, none of that. Honestly there was an opportunity for that, and when I ran into it, I bit my lip, hoping hoping that the trope wouldn’t pop up. And what do you know, it didn’t. The characters remained calm and talked to each other. I was over the moon, it was so wonderful.

And finally, the comedy in this series is just fantastic. It’s slid in there subtly and tends to be of a nerdy nature. I was laughing so hard while reading this book. The situations the characters found themselves in sometimes were funny, sure, but the characters themselves were funny as well. They were constantly joking around with each other. Most of the jokes I was able to pick up on, but the few that I didn’t get due to cultural difference the author would put little footnotes at the bottom of the page with a mini explanation so I didn’t feel left out or like something got passed me – it was nice. Otherwise, I particularly appreciated the sense of humor of Narumi, the pink haired woman on the cover. She was just so amusing and I loved reading from her perspective.

I honestly don’t have much negative to say about this book. The only thing I can think of is that I wish the new relationship would progress a bit faster than it has. I need more material to ship with man, GIMME. I hope that the English release of volume 3 (coming out in October) will fulfill my wishes. I HOPE.

Overall, as you’ve probably realized at this point, love this series. Both volumes out so far are winners and I’m excitedly awaiting the next one.

Rating: 5/5 stars each

Demon Diary by Lee Chi-Hyong and Kara | Series blabber

Demon Diary, Volume 01Demon Diary by Lee Chi-Hyong and Kara
Manhwa – Fantasy
Seven volumes
Read June 18 – 21, 2018
Spoiler-free blabber

This is the fluffiest thing I’ve ever read about demons.

And it was rather enjoyable. The series begins when the main character Raenef, pictured to the left here, is put into the position of Demon Lord after the previous one dies. From the sound of the premise, this sounds like a good opener for a coming of age, serious, character-driven story.

Well… not really. I mean it is, but it’s not really serious, and the character development gives way a bit for a wave of comedy instead. Raenef is a young kid – fifteen or so – when given this title. And by no means was he prepared for it. He’s still childish, light-hearted, and all around goofy. So the plot basically revolves around Raenef being himself during his training and his advisor, Eclipse, growing ever more exasperated trying to get him in line.

It’s adorable and endearing and I love the bond of friendship that grows between the two. I like seeing male friendships that are healthy and dynamic and don’t revolve around constantly jabbing each other or shared interest in a woman or… anything like that. I just like seeing two men get along on principle and not be afraid to actually show that they like each other.

The cast of characters that are slowly introduced are rather amusing as well – some align more with Eclipse’s seriousness and others are very much like Raenef, which is why they seem to gravitate towards him. They’re funny and cute, and they improve the flesh of the story in a good way.

The only thing I can complain about in this series is the ending. No spoilers, promise. But. The ending of the ‘plot’ concluded earlier than the end of the series, and the final bit was basically a plot device trope used to extend the writing a bit more. It had nothing to do with the plot, was overused, and was not done super well. Also, I feel like the story could have gone on for ten volumes more. There would have had to been a second arc in the story to do it, but it could have easily been done. The world that was built was rather big, but only a small part of it was explored, leaving much plot and character development to be desired.

But aside from the end section, which was not my favorite, the plot and characters that I did get to read in this world were pretty great. I just… wish there would have been more. The comedic aspects of the series kept me entertained and laughing, and both Raenef and Eclipse are wonderful characters to read about. If you’re looking for a short-ish manhwa series to dive into, I recommend this one.

Overall series rating: 4.25/5 stars

Individual volume ratings:
One: 4/5 | Two: 4/5 | Three: 5/5 | Four: 5/5 | Five: 4/5 | Six: 5/5 | Seven: 3/5

Top 5 father figures

Copy of Top 5 Wednesday Banner

https://i.imgur.com/XS0XVS1.gifHappy Hump Day!

Today’s topic is fathers or father figures. (By the way, Father’s Day is this coming Sunday, for you American peeps. Go take your dad to dinner or something). For this topic, I’m breaking away from books a little bit.

If you’d like to participate in T5W, you can do so here.


5. Maes Hughes from Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa

He’s just such a wholesome guy, and funny to boot.

4. Butler from Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, #1)

No gif for this one. Butler essentially acts as Artemis’s father and role model and protector throughout the series. He’s such a stand up guy.

3. Burrich from Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1)

Not from Assassin’s Apprentic specifically, but Hobb’s entire Realm of the Elderlings series. Burrich is definitely a gruff guy and has annoyed me more than once with how stubborn he is, but he’s got a big heart.

2. Iroh from Avatar: The Last Airbender

I feel like Iroh is the Golden Standard when it comes to positive male role models. Everyone should be like Iroh.

1. Bobby from Supernatural

Again, a good male role model (but maybe more gruff and not as golden standardy as Iroh). He’s funnier, though, so he’s my fave.


And that’s it! Happy reading!